Difference Between Polar Bear and Brown Bear

Polar Bear vs Brown Bear

Polar bear and brown bear are two carnivorous mammals living in two different ecosystems. Both of them belong to the same genus and different species. They exhibit a range of differences including the coat colour, and this article aims to discuss their characteristics with emphasis on different features.

Polar Bear

Polar bear, Ursus maritimus, is an attractive carnivore and native to the Arctic Circle. They fall into the category of Vulnerable according to the IUCN red list, as their populations are declining at a rapid rate. It is the largest land living member of the Order: Carnivora, and a matured adult’s weight ranges from 350 to 680 kilograms, and the body length could go up to three metres. Polar bears exhibit many adaptations to live in snow. Their legs are stocky and have a long nose and small ears. In addition, polar bears have large feet, which are advantageous to walk on the snow and to swim in the sea. The paws have soft papillae to provide a better traction on the ice. Their claws are short and stocky which help them to catch heavy preys. Sometimes, they are referred as marine mammals, because polar bears spend much time of their lifetime in the sea. They have small and jagged jaws with sharp and strong canines. Unlike many carnivores, polar bears are not territorial animals. They have an excellent vision and a very good sense of smell, which are helpful for their carnivorous habits. However, their unique and beautiful snow-white coat has attracted much of the peoples’ love.

Brown Bear

Brown bear, Ursus arctos, is a carnivorous mammal lives in Northern Europe, Asia, and North America. Their coat is silvery-brown in colour. There are sixteen recognized sub species of brown bear living in different parts of Europe, Asia, and North America. Brown bears have extra large claws with a big curve. Their heavily built concave skull looks larger compared to the body size. They have an estimated population of about 20,000 in the wild, and IUCN categorizes them as Least Concerned. Brown bears are also large carnivores with body weights ranging from 300 to 700 kilograms. Their diet is omnivorous, as they eat both animal and plant matter. Brown bears are territorial and nocturnal. Their temperaments are unpredictable and attacks on humans are frequent, but usually avoid people.

What is the difference between Polar Bear and Brown Bear?

• Polar bears inhabit arctic waters and snow, while brown bears inhabit temperate regions of Asia, Europe, and North America.

• Polar bear is snow-white to yellow in color, and the brown bear has a silvery-brown coat.

• Polar bear is larger than many subspecies of brown bear. However, Kodiak bear is the largest subspecies of brown bear, and they sometimes grow larger than polar bears.

• Polar bear has larger feet with soft papillae on paws, but brown bears have smaller feet without papillae on paws.

• Polar bear can swim fast for long distances compared to brown bear.

• Polar bears are always carnivores and the brown bear is omnivorous.

• Polar bear has a longer skull compared to the heavy and concaved skull of brown bear.

• Polar bear has small claws, whereas brown bear has large curved claves.

• Polar bear is not a territorial animal, but brown bear is territorial.

• Brown bear is a nocturnal animal, but polar bear is not.